Southwest Ohio Huddle: Tournament draws nearing for baseball and softball


Southwest Ohio Huddle

The sectional draw for Southwest District baseball and softball teams
is Sunday (May 3) and some schools might have to play league games
during the postseason. Here’s hoping the worst part of the spring weather is past us. Several
coaches and athletic directors have said this has been one of the worst
seasons in recent memory in regards to weather.

Dozens of baseball and softball games have postponed or canceled this spring as a result of rainy weather. And that has created several scheduling problems in April and May.

With that being said, the next few weeks will be jam-packed with events as teams try to make up as many games as possible before the end of the school year.

The sectional draw for Southwest District baseball and softball teams is Sunday (May 3) and some schools might have to play league games during the postseason.

Here’s hoping the worst part of the spring weather is past us. Several coaches and athletic directors have said this has been one of the worst seasons in recent memory in regards to weather.

“I definitely wish the regular season was longer than six weeks,” Archbishop Moeller baseball coach Tim Held told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Still, all the teams are in the same predicament and must keep their focus as we enter May.

“When things are this rough – I challenge them to make each day their best and take this time to get better,” Cincinnati La Salle baseball coach Pat O’Connor said. “I tell them there is nothing we can do about it so let’s not worry about and get better today.”

But, this past weekend was clearly the exceptional for the weather. Temperatures reached above 80 degrees around the area and Friday and Saturday saw a flurry of activity in high school events.

In the annual boys’ tennis Coaches Classic event, Cincinnati St. Xavier won the Flight A title in dominant fashion. The Bombers, who are the defending Division I state team champions, were led by Ryan Bandy, Hersh Mathani, Sean Bandy, Eddie Droun, Joe Speier, Jay Fovel and Brad Sena.

Mathani won the No. 3 singles title, while Sena and Fovel won first doubles and Speier and Droun won No. 2 doubles.

West Chester Lakota West senior Wyatt Lippert, an Ohio State recruit, defeated Ryan Bandy to win the No. 1 singles title.

The tennis tournament included six flights across Cincinnati last weekend. Other tournament winners included Mason and Hamilton.

Also on Saturday, Lockland and Western Hills shared first-place honors at the Downtown Go Round boys’ track and field meet at Taft High School. Taft was third at the meet.


Kelley Benhase, Glen Este softball: The sophomore ace threw a no-hitter on Friday in a 2-1 win over Wilmington. She struck out seven batters for Glen Este, which is ranked No. 2 in the Cincinnati Enquirer Division I area coaches’ poll. As of Monday, Benhase is one of the area’s pitching leaders with a 0.12 ERA in 57 innings. She is 7-1 with 117 strikeouts and five shutouts. Glen Este (13-2, 7-0 Fort Ancient Valley Conference-Buckeye division) is four-and-a-half games ahead with three divisional games to play. The Trojans, which finished 26-6 last season, are looking to snap Harrison’s three-year reign as Buckeye champions.


Cincinnati Oak Hills baseball team: The Highlanders are ranked No. 1 in the Cincinnati Enquirer coaches’ poll and won five consecutive games before losing to Archbishop Moeller 5-4 last Thursday. Oak Hills also recently celebrated coach Chuck Laumann’s 300th career win. Oak Hills has been led offensively by senior Kyle Raleigh, who is a Ball State recruit. Raleigh was hitting .500 with 19 RBI as of last weekend. Oak Hills was hitting .347 as a team going into last weekend, including contributions from Joe Cox (.457 with five stolen bases) and Jake Proctor (.452 with 18 RBI). Oak Hills plays at Mason at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, before playing at Colerain Wednesday afternoon.


Fairfield hires football coach: Aaron Fitzstephens has been named the new Fairfield head football coach, pending Board of Education approval. The next board meeting is May 7. Fitzstephens will replace Doc Gamble, who announced he is stepping down in June. Fitzstephens, a physical education teacher at Fairfield Middle School, has been a varsity assistant football coach at Sycamore for the past three years.

Reid commits:
Cincinnati Withrow senior point guard Joshua Reid has signed to continue his basketball career at Cincinnati Christian University. Reid, who is 5-feet-10, averaged 16.4 points and 4.5 points for the Tigers.

Soccer commitments:
Cincinnati Elder senior Jason Modafari and Amelia senior Paul Orleck have committed to play at Mount St. Joseph. Harrison senior Ashley Niehaus has committed to play at Mount St. Joseph.

Swimming at Oxford:
Middletown senior Matt McKee has signed to swim at Miami University.

Stenger to NKU:
Cincinnati St. Xavier senior forward Erik Stenger has committed to play at Northern Kentucky University. Stenger, a forward, averaged 17.6 points and 7.8 rebounds last season. He was first-team all-district and helped the Bombers to the Division I regional semifinals.

Zips offer Gates:
Middletown junior CB Jerry Gates (5-10, 180) has been offered by the University of Akron. It is Gates’ first offer.

Track commitment:
Deer Park senior Adam Pettyjohn has committed to compete at Morehead State University. Pettyjohn is the son of Deer Park football coach Barry Pettyjohn.

Lancers commit:
La Salle senior RB Ryan Volz (5-10, 180) has committed to play at Thomas More. Senior DB Thomas Kent (5-10, 175) has committed to play at Centre College.

Volleyball commitment:
Goshen senior middle hitter Mariah Gray has signed to play at the University of the Cumberlands.

All-star football game:
The annual SWOFCA/Ron Woyan East-West all-star football game is June 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Kings High School. Information about rosters and the coaches are expected to be announced soon.

Purdue offers Hendrix:
Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller junior QB Andrew Hendrix (6-3, 220) picked up a scholarship offer from Purdue on Friday. Hendrix has 15 offers.
UC offers Massa: Cincinnati St. Xavier junior QB Luke Massa (6-5, 205) was offered by Cincinnati on Saturday night. Massa also has an offer from Wisconsin.


Mount Notre Dame at Fairfield softball, Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.: These are two of the top teams in Cincinnati. Fairfield is led by junior pitcher Jaisa Fox, who had eight strikeouts in a 2-0 win over league rival Colerain last week. The Indians won three consecutive games going into last weekend. MND won its 10th game at Mercy last Wednesday. The Cougars only had two losses up until that point. The Cougars are led by Mel Burns, who was hitting .500 with seven RBI and 11 stolen bases going into last weekend.

Mount Orab Western Brown at New Richmond softball, Wednesday, 4:30 p.m.:
This should be an interesting Southern Buckeye Conference matchup. Western Brown senior Shelby Kelley is the team’s leading pitcher. She is also hitting over .600 with four home runs and 21 RBI in 11 games.

Kings at Talawanda baseball, Thursday at 5 p.m.:
Two of the top teams in the FAVC in their respective conferences. Talawanda is in first place in the Scarlet division while Kings is second in the Cardinal. Kings is led by Dylan Rios, who is hitting .387 with eight RBI as of last Friday. Talawanda is led by Todd Weiser (.543) and Braden Park (.528).

Ross Invitational track meet, Friday, 4 p.m.:
Field events start at 4 p.m. for the meet at Ross High School. An estimated 14 teams are expected to attend, including Hamilton Badin, Cincinnati Country Day, Trenton Edgewood, Elder, Fairborn, Fairfield, Hamilton, Harrison, Mount Notre Dame, Mason, Northwester, Oak Hills, Ross and Talawanda.

GCL-South tennis tournament, Saturday, 9 a.m. at La Salle and St. Xavier:
The annual tournament features three separate matches. St. X has won the league title every year since the late 1960s and the Bombers are a favorite again. St. X opens the day with matches against Moeller (9 a.m.) and Elder (10:30 a.m.).

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